This course will cover the key characteristics of focus groups including; the circumstances when they should and should not be used, how to plan and prepare for a focus group, the advantages and disadvantages of different options for structuring a focus group, the skills required of a focus group facilitator and the roles that help a group to function well, probing and questioning in a focus group and handling difficult people or circumstances in a focus group. Practical exercises will reinforce learning and give participants opportunities to practice some of the skills of a focus group facilitator.

Duration

1 day

Aim

The course aims to equip participants with the knowledge, techniques, and confidence to design and run a participative focus group.

Learning objectives

  • Explore the key characteristics of focus groups, when they should and should not be used
  • Discuss how to prepare and plan for a focus group
  • Identify the advantages and disadvantages of different options for structuring a focus group
  • Discuss the qualities and skills required of a focus group facilitator and the roles that help a group to function well
  • Probing and questioning in a focus group
  • Identify techniques for handling difficult behaviour or circumstances in a focus group (Focus Group from Hell exercise)
  • Provide an opportunity for practical exercises to reinforce learning and practice some of the skills of a focus group facilitator

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course participants will be able to:

  • Apply knowledge of how to plan and run a focus group
  • Identify when to use focus groups in preference to other participatory methods
  • Describe the characteristics and skills of a good focus group facilitator
  • Use probing and questioning techniques
  • Feel more confident in dealing with difficult behaviour and circumstances

Who this course is for

Anyone who needs to use group interviews as a way of carrying out consultations or research.

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